OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives, on Thursday, adopted a motion on e-Customs and resolved to invite the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emiefele, Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service, Hammed Ali.

They are being summoned to help the House gain more insight over the continued loss of revenue running into trillions of dollars due to failed take-off of Nigerian Customs Service e-Customs.

Others summoned by the lawmakers is the CBN Technical Committee on Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS). Also, the Managing Director of Adani Mega Systems Ltd to resolve issues bordering on the take-off of the e-Customs Modernisation Project.

The adopted motion came under a matter of urgent public importance, titled “Need to Resolve the Debacle Between CBN Technical Committee on CISS and Adani Mega Systems Ltd Hindering the Take-off of Nigerian Customs Service e-Customs Modernisation Project.” 

In the motion moved by Chairman House Committee on Customs and Excise, Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi), his debate disclosed that the CBN Technical Committee on CISS had an agreement with Adani Mega Systems Ltd. The agreement is to engage Adani Mega Systems Ltd. as Service Provider/Vendor for screening service infrastructure to inspect all inbound and outbound cargo in Nigeria.

Furthermore, Abejide said CBN, in a letter of engagement dated 16th February 2017, also stated its statutory mandate to manage and supervise the project (as provided in Sections 13(1),15(i), and 5 of Pre-Shipment Inspection of Export Act, and Pre-Shipment Inspect of Imports Act).

The Kogi lawmaker revealed that “a Build, Operate, and Own agreement between the Technical Committee on CISS (on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria) and Adani Mega Systems Ltd in relation to the provision of the scanning services infrastructures (scanners) required for all operations was sealed. Also a certificate of no objection was granted by the BPP after evaluating the profile of the company”.

He expressed worry that the level of engagement had reached the turning point whereby Adani Mega Systems Ltd had procured necessary pieces of equipment to commence the e-Customs projects as provided for in the contract. Still, since 13th July 2017, the project had stalled without a solution in sight.

Additionally, Abejide said the issue was causing tremendous revenue loss to the federal government. Contrary to the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning’s earlier appraisal of having the potential of yielding up to $176 billion for the 20 year concession period.

Again, he expressed concern that at the moment, the Nigeria Customs Service remained in the analogue era of conducting 100% physical examination, which in itself was a major setback in the congestion to our ports and a more significant loss of revenue to our dear country.

The lawmaker was worried that the dispute between the two parties was at such a time of alarming rate at the entry of undetected Arms and Ammunition into the country’s Ports and Border Stations due to no functional scanners.

According to him: “the 2022 Budget provided for N3.9 Trillion for debt servicing alone, and this is asides repayment of principal. If the e-Customs is allowed to take off by settling the issues between the FGN and ADANl, the issue of borrowing would be reduced to the barest minimum, if not eradicated. Because the Nigeria Customs Service would be able to generate twice, if not thrice, of what is currently being generated. Despite all these obstacles, there is the possibility of NCS to generate over N2 Trillion this year 2021.

“For the interest of the country and to reduce country’s debt profile the lingering crisis between the federal government through the CBN Technical Committee on CISS and Adani Mega Systems Ltd need to be urgently resolved,” Abejide added. 

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